Ten-Run Eighth Carries Redlands Past Pomona-Pitzer

Ten-Run Eighth Carries Redlands Past Pomona-Pitzer

Claremont, Calif. - The third-seeded Redlands Baseball team scored 10 runs in the eighth inning as it rallied from a 5-1 deficit to capture a 14-8 win over second-seeded Pomona-Pitzer in the opening round of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament on Friday afternoon at Alumni Field.

With the win, Redlands improves to 22-16 and advances to meet top-seeded Cal Lutheran tomorrow at 12 noon in the winner's bracket. Pomona-Pitzer falls to 27-13 and will face Occidental in the loser's bracket at 9 a.m. (all games tomorrow will be played at Cal Lutheran).

Pomona-Pitzer had a 5-1 lead through five innings, as sophomore pitcher Jake Bruml (San Mateo, Calif.) helped his own cause with an RBI double in the third to start a four-run inning, and an RBI single in the fourth to add an insurance run.

However, Nathaniel Acosta hit a two-run homer that went over the top of the left field foul pole in the sixth to get Redlands back in it. The Bulldogs added a run in the seventh that could have been more, as senior center fielder Erik Munzer (Beverly Hills, Calif.) jumped against the fence in left-center to rob Jason Henning of extra bases (catch pictured), and the Bulldogs ran into the final out of the inning when the tying run was held at third on a shallow single, and the trail runner was caught between second and third.

In the top of the eighth, Acosta led off with a double that just eluded the dive of Pomona-Pitzer left fielder Mike Moyer (Oakland, Calif.) in left-center and the Bulldogs put runners on the corners when the Sagehens tried to get the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt. An RBI double from Max Hardman tied it and put runners on second and third, and after junior reliever Robert Weller (Irvine, Calif.) was called in relief, Mark Tumlinson put down a perfect squeeze bunt that turned into a single as the Sagehens were late covering the bag, and the throw got away to allow Hardman to score as well to make it 7-5.

The Sagehens twice almost got out of the inning with a chance to keep it close, but they failed to turn a double play when the throw pulled senior Nick Gentili (Glendale, Calif.) off the bag at first, as a run scored to make it 9-5. Then Munzer laid out for what appeared to be an inning-ending diving catch off the grasstops, but it was ruled a trap as another run came home. Eliot Smith then tacked on a three-run homer to put the game out of reach, making the score 14-5.

Pomona-Pitzer battled and scored twice in the eighth on an RBI double from sophomore second baseman Ryan Madden (Oakland, Calif.) and an RBI single from sophomore shortstop Sam Fox (New York, N.Y.). The Sagehens added a run in the ninth on an RBI single from sophomore third baseman E.J. Lopez (Fresno, Calif.) to make it 14-8, and the bases were loaded with one out, but Redlands closer Josh Makler came in to get the final two outs to end the game.

Acosta finished 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI for Redlands, while Hardman was 4-for-5 in the No. 9 spot in the batting order, as the Bulldogs tallied 18 hits with all nine starters getting at least one. Madden was 4-for-5 with two RBI for the Sagehens, while Bruml was 3-for-5 with two RBI. Kyle Hart went 7.1 innings, allowing 11 hits but walking none to get the win for Redlands.

Pomona-Pitzer and Occidental have met four times already this year and have split 2-2, with three of the games decided by 2-1 scores.